Thursday, January 25, 2018

Can adding a phantom third story to their homes help families find a wife for their son?

See Supply, Demand and Marriage by economist Robert Frank. Maybe this shows how powerful supply and demand works if it can help explain marriage. Excerpts:
"IN some cultures, romance isn’t nearly as important as cash when it comes to choosing a marriage partner. And even when money plays no explicit role in selecting a mate, courtship customs are governed by the venerable economic model of supply and demand.

Under the dowry system in India, for example, parents of older brides would typically pay more to prospective grooms. Men with better jobs would receive larger payments, too.

In short, there really is a marriage market in many countries around the world, and economic principles apply to it. In markets with a preponderance of women seeking partners, the terms of trade shift in favor of men. If more men are seeking partners, the reverse is true."

"An imbalance in the opposite direction characterizes the contemporary marriage market in China. The Chinese government’s one-child policy, combined with a cultural preference for sons and technologies that permit selective abortion, have helped to create a large sex-ratio imbalance among young Chinese. For every 100 women in that group, there are now more than 120 men.

According to market models, the terms of trade in the Chinese marriage market should have shifted sharply in favor of women. And evidence suggests that young Chinese women and their families have in fact become much more selective in recent years.

They appear, for example, to focus more critically on the earnings potential of prospective mates. Because house size is often assumed to be a reliable signal of wealth, a family can enhance its son’s marriage prospects by spending a larger fraction of its income on housing. (Other families can follow the same strategy, of course, but when all families do so, the resulting homes are still reliable indicators of relative wealth.) Such a shift appears to have occurred.

For example, when Shang-Jin Wei, an economist at Columbia University, and Xiaobo Zhang of the International Food Policy Research Institute examined the size distribution of Chinese homes, they found that families with sons built houses that were significantly larger than those built by families with daughters, even after controlling for family income and other factors. They also generally found that the higher a city’s male-to-female ratio, the bigger the average house size of families that have sons.

Mr. Wei reports that many families with sons have begun to add a phantom third story to their homes, one that looks normal from the outside but whose interior space remains completely unfinished.
“Marriage brokers are familiar with the tactic,” he reports, “yet many refuse to schedule meetings with a family’s son unless the family house has three stories.”"
Related posts:

A fake job reference can be just a few clicks away.

Fake Economist Fools Portugal.

Slave Redemption in Sudan. (Fake slaves are sold to those who buy slaves and then give them their freedom)

Can A Product Work Just Because It's Expensive?. (fake medicine)

If It Pays To Have Friends, Can You Pay To Have Friends?. (you can hire fake boyfriends)

Study: Half of American Doctors Give Patients Placebos Without Telling Them.

Saudis grapple with fake street sweepers .

Rent a White Guy: Confessions of a fake businessman from Beijing (by Mitch Moxley in The Atlantic Monthly)

3 comments:

lin zhang said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lin zhang said...

The article indicates something that is happening in China. As mentioned in it, finding a wife or a husband is more likely to purchase merchandise. The value of a single woman or man is largely based on wage, appearance, height, education background, family and social class at the marriage market. Other things, such as matched personalities and similar interesting, are ignored. However, these personal qualities are more important for a romantic relationship and a good marriage.

Cyril Morong said...

Thanks again for reading. Great insights